The delay in the release of the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, reportedly as a result of a meeting between President Ramaphosa and Chief Justice Raymond Zondo earlier today to discuss the timing of the handover, is wrong and deeply unethical.
This constitutes a dangerous and unacceptable interference in the judicial process which casts a long shadow over both the independence of South Africa’s judiciary, and the credibility of the Presidency. At a time when trust in the Presidency is at an all-time low, any suggestion that the President may be interfering with the independent work of the Commission or manipulating the timing of the report’s release is rightfully met with suspicion.
It is unheard of for any individual, who is the subject of an investigation being conducted by the state’s law enforcement and judiciary, to be able to manipulate the content of an investigative report or the timing of its release. It is astounding that the President sees nothing wrong in attending this meeting. The delay of the court-mandated deadline for the release of the final Zondo Report, seemingly at the hand of the President, should set alarm bells ringing.
The President of the Republic has no right to delay or obstruct justice, and one can only assume that President Ramaphosa is seeking to delay the release of the final Zondo Report for two reasons: because it directly implicates him in state capture, and because the timing of the release is inconvenient given the current controversy surrounding the theft of 4 million US dollars from his Phala Phala farm in 2020.
I call on both President Ramaphosa and Judge Zondo to take the country into their confidence and urgently issue statements explaining the nature of their meeting, who initiated it, and why it was permitted to go ahead, given the evident conflict this presents with the principles of independence and justice.